August 18, 2021

Dear Griffins,

After months of planning, Fall Semester 2021 is finally here. We’ve been open and working all summer to prepare for the time when you can all be back with us on campus. That time has arrived, and we’re excited to be back with you in classrooms, labs, and studios; at performances and games; and sharing meals with you in Shaw.

If you’re new, or if it’s been a while since being here, you’ll notice some dramatic changes to campus. Construction on our new performing arts complex, Gillmor Hall, has been ongoing and will open later this year. Some students are already enjoying the lights on our athletic fields; others are off on wilderness adventures. Our newest students are being introduced to a student support model that will follow them throughout their collegiate journey; our returning students are taking advantage of new internships, activities, and opportunities to design their academic programs.

We’re also carrying forward the lessons learned from months of pandemic-era education to craft experiences aimed at the rich, personal engagement that has been limited for so many of us. There has never been a greater need to understand and support the interconnectedness of physical and mental health, financial wellness, nutrition and food science, and religious and spiritual exploration. You will find attention to student wellness woven into our interactions, courses, and activities as we build a community of support for everyone.

Finally, as we launch another academic year, I hope you engage in thinking freely, knowing wisely, and acting ethically, effectively, and with impact—beginning with the first conversations after convocation or in class, extending to the judgments you suspend about others, and culminating in a successful and fulfilling year. We’ll provide countless opportunities for you, but you’ll need to take advantage of them. Make use of the resources we have for you—the more you engage, the greater your success. You’ll claim a professional identity, learn how to focus, be present, and do things well instead of just getting things done. You’ll learn not only how to make a difference, but how to learn from difference. You’ll have a foundation of knowledge and a way of learning that will serve you the rest of your life.

I look forward to seeing you on campus throughout the coming year. Go Griffins!

Beth Dobkin